Covid-19 and Africa

Written by Ulrike Schuerkens.

Let’s say: I’m not a doctor, but a university professor who is also interested in the socio-anthropology of health. I have been observing for weeks the development of COVID-19 around the world and particularly in Africa where the ManaGlobal project that I coordinate is taking place.

What I have noticed are border closures in the South and North which have prevented a certain number of contaminations triggered by travelers, especially in the countries of the South. Rapid political reactions in Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana and Morocco (where the ManaGlobal project is taking place), which I believe have largely prevented the spread of the disease. The treatments adopted, influenced by the proposals of the university professor and director of the Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire Méditerranée Infection in Marseille, Didier Raoult, have helped to keep the number of deaths relatively low compared to the many deaths in Western countries. Senegal and also Morocco have adopted the protocol suggested by this controversial doctor in France where his treatment is only allowed for serious cases in hospitals. These serious cases show in the West certain common characteristics: advanced age beyond 65 years or even more, co-morbidities such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular problems etc.

However, the populations in the four countries where the ManaGlobal project is taking place are characterized by their youth and thus often healthier – despite poverty – than the serious cases in the West with high morbidity rates. The research found that children and adolescents are affected by relatively few cases of COVID 19 or – in case of contamination – they develop benign forms. Can it be concluded that the pandemic will instead have severe effects and high mortality rates in Western countries with different consumption patterns from those in the South and organisms exposed to very different food? The health effects of the pandemic in the South should certainly not be underestimated but the exposure to other pandemics such as malaria appears to protect African populations. Moreover, it seems to me that the limited rate of COVID-19 cases in China – although they are certainly underestimated for political reasons – gives a small glimmer of hope for the health consequences in the South, at least in Africa. The good choices made by doctors in several African countries in the face of the pandemic are compounded by the fact that the drugs proposed by Professor D. Raoult can be administered without the side effects expected in severely affected elderly patients in the West. Moreover, these are the medicines available in Africa (Sanofi Maroc) and known to the populations.

There remain the socio-economic consequences in countries characterized by populations often working in precarious and informal conditions. International and regional solidarity is beginning to be activated in the face of this situation, which exposes populations to famine and subsequently to hunger revolts that will not be long in coming if governments do not react. Confinement has not been applied in Cameroon but in Morocco; in Senegal, a curfew reigns at night in the face of populations who work during the day to meet their immediate needs. Wearing masks has been demanded in Cameroon, Morocco and Senegal and is being suggested in Ghana.

In conclusion, I would say that there is hope in the face of the health consequences of the pandemic in the countries of the South, at least in Africa. The socio-economic consequences are likely to be enormous in the face of countries of the North whose economies are at a standstill and whose importance for the socio-economic systems of African countries is well known.

A new RC09 challenge has begun!

This space is the opinion column for RC09 scholars and enthusiasts that have something to say about what is going on these days, analyzing our diverse societies through the development and social transformations lens.

Information technologies are growing faster as days go by and the RC09 Editorial Team is looking forward to building channels to make the best of it, motivating scholars to share their points of view in social media. This will contribute to having more sights from sociology on Twitter, Facebook and the web page of RC09, reaching more people around the globe.

We need you to make this column come true.  Fill this link to participate.

Let’s co-create this together!

 

Best,

Almendra, Ilona and Devparna.

 

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RC09 Newsletter – spring/summer 2018

RC09 newsletter - spring 2018
We are pleased to publish our Spring/Summer 2018 Newsletter, prepared by the RC09 newsletter editor Zophia Edwards.
This edition contains:
– Remarks from the RC09 Co-Presidents
– Recent RC09 Member Publications
– Book Review
– RC09 Members’ Ongoing Projects and other news
We especially thank our members who contributed to this edition.

Learn More about the RC09 Members

As the Toronto 2018 ISA Congress is approaching, you may want to learn more about its participants. In our last Newsletter issue, we have added a new section – the information about the current research projects and grants of the RC09 members. You can also find references (and sometimes full texts) of the recently published and forthcoming RC09 member publications on this website or in our RC09 Newsletter issues. For the curious ones, we encourage you to see (or remind yourself) the results of a very interesting initiative – the RC09 members’ survey 2016 – prepared by Josh Dubrow. The main goal of this survey is to understand the research interests of RC09 members, their daily life of scholars and attitudes toward the role of ISA RC09 in their lives.

The call for content for the next issue of our Newsletter will be announced soon. Stay tuned!

 

RC09 Newsletter – New Issue!

It is our great pleasure to announce the new RC09 Newsletter – the first issue with the new editor Zophia Edwards, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Providence College. Here are couple words about the new issue from the eRC09-spring-2017ditor:

[Our 2017 Newsletter] contains a special opening by RC 09 Co-President Ulrike Schuerkens, a provocative piece by co-President Habibul H. Khondker, information about the RC 09 sessions in the upcoming ISA World Congress in Toronto, and recent publications by RC 09 members. Special thanks to all who sent submissions.

 

New Publication!

We are happy to announce the new publication by Ulrike Schuerkens:

bookcover

Schuerkens, Ulrike (2017). Social changes in a global world (1st edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Pub.

This is an in-depth exploration of social transformations and developments, which combines an international approach with up-to-date research.

You may find here chapters on contemporary topics including technology, new media, war and terror, political culture and inequality. It also includes an analysis of societal structures – inequality, globalization, transnationalism.

This is a must read for students taking modules in social change, social inequality, social theory and globalization! To help comprehend the learning material, the book contains discussion questions, annotated further reading, chapter summaries and pointers to online resources to assist with study.

More on recent member publications you can find here.